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Sunday Morning Paper #1: another, star-dusted country

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Conjuring up our own gods, New York Times (September 2, 2013)

Consider how some people attempt to make what can only be imagined feel real. They do this by trying to create thought-forms, or imagined creatures, called tulpas. Their human creators are trying to imagine so vividly that the tulpas start to seem as if they can speak and act on their own. …  The Internet has been a boon for tulpa practice, with dozens of sites with instructions on creating one.

A Binary is a Wonderful Thing to Break: New Study Rejects the Idea of “Male” and “Female” Brains, Bitch (September 2, 2016)

Undermining the commonly held belief that males and females have different brains is important because sex differences between brains has been used as a justification for social differences and inequalities. There’s a long tradition of biological research being used to justify racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, and a very long list of other forms of oppressive social organization. When biology and social differences are linked, those social differences are often thought to be biologically determined.

Lúthien: Tolkien’s Badass Elf Princess, Tor.com (September 14, 2016)

Would some of us rather J.R.R. have added plenty more female characters of varying complexity and power to his stories? Of course we would. The truth is, there are more influential women than you’d think to be found in the pages of 1977’s The Silmarillion. It’s just that Lúthien serves up something special, with a side order of blood, poison, and enchantment.

Body image and the foreign female in Japan: survey shows frustration with one-size-fits-all thinking, The Japan Times (September 21, 2016)

Half the women responded that their confidence in how they look has worsened since coming to Japan and that “living in Japan has been a major contributing factor to this situation.” On the other hand, 21 percent said the opposite was true, and that life here has contributed significantly to improving their body image.


Fiction pick of the week:
Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass, by Jeremiah Tolbert in Lightspeed Magazine (February 2016)

“All my life! All my life, I’ve read stories about fantasy worlds. I used to dream about being whisked away to my real parents, to where I really belonged.” Langford offered a tissue, and she daubed at her tears with it. “When the rabbit holes opened, I thought it was only a matter of time. I looked everywhere, but I couldn’t find mine.”

She shouted it, didn’t care who heard her now:

“IT’S! NOT! FAIR!”

He nodded, let her cry for a moment, and then said quietly, “I bet that made you feel like a real Susan Pevensie.”

“Exactly! What did I do to deserve being left behind? At first, it was about escape. It’s all I ever dreamed about, you know? But now, it’s about—”

“Feeling abandoned.”

Poetry pick of the week:
The Doorway, by Lev Mirov in Pedestal Magazine (Issue 78)

I wake alone, all dry, in the bed where I spend all my dreaming.
In another, star-dusted country, dripping, the Captain spits sea water
though he is miles from the shore, and tries to shake off the cold.
(You can read Lev’s notes on “The Doorway” when you’re done.)

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